To Finish Off the Year

It’s been ages ago now (and perhaps seems even longer), but this summer I participated in the Summer ’11 edition of Seasons of Lace. It was fun to knit lace along with others, even if I still haven’t finished Rock Island from the KAL. (Soon, I hope!) But that was summer, and this is winter, so I was very surprised a couple weeks ago to receive an e-mail that I had won yarn in the Resurrection Lace Raffle! Just before Christmas I received this little beauty, a skein of Twisted Fiber Art yarn, Muse base (wool-silk), Warlock colorway, generously donated by Cathy Cate of Hither and Yarn.

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Thank you Cathy! Now I just need to decide what to do with it…

In other knitting news, I successfully finished a pair of Hot Waffles Knits for my brother for Christmas. I didn’t get any pictures, but this:

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is what they look like. Yes, they are exactly the same as my Dad’s Mitts. I think my brother likes them; I know he’s been wearing them already. So that was a success.

Not so successful:

Two of at least three short sections from the middle of my ball of Cascade 220 Superwash. They were only holding on by a single ply, which meant more ends to weave in. It looks like maybe the yarn snagged on a piece of equipment or something. I’ve never had this happen in commercial yarn before (although I have knit with yarn from mom & pop companies that’s been broken and knotted). I’m not overfond of weaving in ends, and in black it’s just torture. So I wasn’t too happy by that, but I bought the yarn so long ago, that there’s nothing I can do about it. (And none of the other balls I bought from the same dye lot had that problem. Weird.)

There is one thing I can do–I swear, no more knitting anything in black that requires seaming or weaving in of multiple ends. I mean it this time!

Edging Along

As hoped for, the yarn in stash worked out perfectly for Rock Island. I did waffle a bit—I have a lot of lace weight to choose from!—but in the end both color (more solid than variegated) and quantity (one yarn would have been lovely, but its yardage so much greater than required that it really deserves a larger project) won out for the original selection.

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The pattern is worked from outside in, starting with the edging and then picking up stitches for the inner border. It will be incredibly easy to pick up those stitches—there are very obvious yarn over loops to work with. I didn’t even need to include a vertical ‘lifeline’ as I am on my (very stalled) Lerwick. The edging is also a relatively simple repeat—8 rows, with no more than 16 stitches per row. However, there are no “rest rows,” so I don’t suppose I could technically call this an easy pattern. Just about as easy as a pattern without rest rows and requiring picking up of stitches can get, though.

Despite the ease of the pattern, I’ve stalled out a little bit: first, I was worried it wasn’t open enough(!)—a quick pin-out eased my mind on that, and second, I’m trying to balance out my various lace projects this summer—a combination of trying to finish everything and avoiding boredom by repetition. Looking at this picture, though, it’s time to return to Rock Island!

Lace on all Fronts

I’m not sure how it happened, perhaps I just needed a project that wasn’t a complete redo, but I seem to keep knitting lace, lace, and more lace! I kept on with Swan Lake from my last post, finishing out the chart. At that point, I was a little bored with the repetition of the cat’s paw pattern, which also made up the next chart, so I decided to switch projects, to another long-suffering WIP. (They’re pretty much all that way around here at the moment.)

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Aeolian is actually one of the newest projects I have around. I started it during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, but then let it sit until this week. It took some time to find where I had left off (note to self: it helps to read the directions instead of just blinding jumping in to the charts–that’s how you find out that the first and last stitches aren’t actually on the chart), but I’ve been moving right along since. Or as ‘moving right along’ as rows that take +30 minutes each can be. The above picture is actually old, but this is definitely a ‘spaghetti mess’ of lace, so new pictures wouldn’t look much different. That, and I’m mid-row so getting any sort of non-clumped picture isn’t going to be happening soon!

As much as I’ve been enjoying Aeolian, long rows and all, I’m probably going to be starting a new project this weekend. I’ve not participated in Seasons of Lace recently, for the simple fact that I haven’t been knitting much lace, at least not with any speed, but this summer there’s a Rock Island KAL. And despite the fact that 100s of other knitters (according to Ravelry) are making this and despite my pitiful success rate with KALs, I love the edging so much (well, actually, the band between the center and the edging–is that called the border?), that I decided to join both Seasons of Lace and the KAL. I even have the perfect (I hope–swatching to commence shortly) yarn in the stash:

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Fibre-Isle Niji, aka Louet Mooi. (It appears to no longer be available under either name?)

So now, just one question remains: will any of these (Swan Lake, Aeolian, Rock Island) actually be finished come fall?

Autumn Plans

I believe I promised to be back later this week with a summary of my plans for fall knitting. As it is now about as close to the end of the week as I can get and still be in the same week, I’d better hop to it!

The three-word summary: autumn = lace.

Of course, I’ll be working on some non-lace knitting as well – if nothing else, I want to finish my braided pullover. But with Seasons of Lace in full swing for the fall, I have eyes-bigger-than-my freetime plans for lace knitting.

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First up, Lerwick Lace Shawl (Ravelry link). I started this at the end of May thinking it would be the perfect summer knitting – lightweight enough not to stick to my hands during the hot summer weather and complex enough to hold my attention. As it turned out, we had very little hot summer weather (one of the coolest July’s on record) and my attention was distracted by the much less complicated braided pullover. So this has been languishing in the first half of the edging. I picked it up again last night, though, and added another four points, so maybe I can get on a roll and finish the edging before the fall’s out.

Next, a very old UFO. I did some project organizing last spring, finishing up some, frogging and reassigning yarn on others, and delegating others to the “finish-it-soon” pile. (I’ve been on this big organizational kick lately. I’m almost surprised I haven’t purchased some containers to sort my smallish sized stash by yarn content and color family. Hmm….) Anyway, towards the bottom of the pile was a project that I started as part of a mystery stole project, two years ago. Turns out, I don’t follow along with mystery projects very well. It might have actually headed for the frog pond if I hadn’t seen a finished version of the shawl at the Great Lakes Fiber Show this spring. The pattern is Swan Lake by Melanie Gibbons, and I’m using Suri Elegance (Alpaca Yarn Co.) with some variegated blue-purple beads.

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I didn’t like my gauge on the project (not to mention that it’s been so long, I think my tension may have changed), so I did frog it for a restart. I washed, dried, and rewound the yarn and spent an evening knitting in July before the aforementioned sweater distraction. In the past two weeks, I’ve managed to finish Chart B, and I think this will be a nice fall project for when I have the time to fuss with adding beads. (I’m good at dropping them, so…)

Of course, what fun would fall lace knitting be without some new projects? (Easily distracted by shinny new lace projects….) The first of the new projects is Rose by Susan Pandorf (Sunflower Designs). I’ve purchased several of her patterns, including all of the Garden Variety designs, but this is the first I’ve tried to knit. Although the pattern calls for copious amounts of beads, I think the lines of the design are strong enough that they aren’t necessary, so I’m opting to knit without any beads. I could, however, be setting myself up for a nice little UFO, as I decided this would be a nice summer stole of linen yarn (knitting it in the fall, I make tons of sense). I think the yarn works perfectly well with the pattern, but my hands aren’t quite as enthusiastic. They’ve been spoiled by nice soft merinos and cashmere-silk blends.

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So far, I’ve managed to complete two gauge swatches (blocked, even!) and the first four rows of the actual stole. The picture above represents the swatch at the needle size I’m using.

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Finally, THE fall project. Assuming I can find a gauge I like. I bought this yarn in the spring, knowing it would make for a perfect autumn knit, with its reddish and coppery tones. The yarn is Briar Rose Angel Face, and is absolutely lovely. I also knew immediately that I wanted to knit Aeolian with it. There was a knit-along over the summer for Aeolian, but this yarn had to wait for the fall, so I’m just getting started swatching. Based on an initial swatch start, it may be a bit lighter weight than the yarn called for, but I was planning on making the largest size anyway, and as I’m on the short side (OK, downright short), I think it will work out ok.

So, my plans for the fall. Over ambitious much? Guess I’d better get to knitting….